Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No Resolutions For 2009

In two days, millions of people will begin their "New Years Resolutions" which are mostly unrealistic plans on improving themselves. What most people don't realize is that the change in year only has a short term influence on a person's resolve. If they were serious, why not start on Dec 27, or sometime earlier in the year when they were also aware of the shortcoming.

I put little or no faith in resolutions that start on January 1st, so I don't even think about making one. Instead, I think that a set of reasonable and attainable goals for the year would be much more effective. They should be medium to long term goals with some way to measure progress at certain intervals. Instead of planning to go to the gym three times a week for example, set a goal of losing three pounds a month, and let the number of gym visits take care of itself. Each month you can track your progress and treat yourself to a tasty steak dinner (with a fully loaded baked potato) if your goal is being achieved.

So, what are my goals? I'm still figuring that out!


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Charlotte's First Christmas In Review

This Christmas was Charlotte's first gift receiving event (as she hasn't turned one year old yet) and she is off to a great start with toys, clothes, and other goodies. Here is a photo of all of the gifts that were given to her.

Charlotte cashed in!

We also took some video, and here is one for your viewing enjoyment.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from the three of us to all of our friends and family! We are enjoying our holidays so far and spent yesterday at Nathanael and Shelley's house. Today is another adventure, as we head to Martin and Dianna's house and another round of gift opening.

This morning we opened some of Charlotte's gifts from Opa and Omsie.

Charlotte with her new Veggie Tales book

Charlotte's Noah's Ark set

Now that's a gift Daddy will be happy to play with too!

This year is different than most in that we have a ton of snow. It keep falling with no end in sight, although it's supposed to warm up a bit and start to rain in the next few days. For now though, the snow remains and while it is very beautiful, it has caused us a lot of work, shoveling snow, and digging our cars out from being stuck a number of times.

Some nice red berries in our area

Look how deep the snow is in our back yard!

For those of you who think this is nothing, keep in mind that the Vancouver area rarely gets more than a few inches of snow and it melts within days.

The three of us enjoying the chilly weather

Our house from the road. Snow coming down hard.

The snow is beautiful, when it's on the trees!

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Charlotte: Seven Months Old

Charlotte at 7 months old

Our big girl is swiftly moving past the half year mark, and is getting cuter and more interactive every day, and displaying signs of a strong personality. She is sitting up very well on her own now and exploring from a whole new direction. Now we look forward to her learning to crawl!


Monday, December 22, 2008

The Tortilla Chip's Soul Mate

Guacamole! With avacados, lemon, tomato, cilantro, and more!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy 27th, Natasha!

Happy Birthday, Natasha! All the best in 2009, and may it be as fun, exciting, and as successful as this last year has been. Love you lots!

After some gift opening tonight, we're going out for steak dinner at The Keg, and we will add a couple of update photos to this post tomorrow.

Update: The Keg

Natasha and I visited The Keg last night and had some amazing steak dinners. Here are a couple of photos, and a few comments.

Here is the birthday girl herself, enjoying the Filet Mignon and baked potato. It is one of the tenderest pieces of beef you can have, and wrapped in bacon; how can it get any better?

Actually, maybe it can get just a bit better! Here is me with the Baseball Sirloin! Look at how thick that steak is! They won't cook it any more than medium rare which is perfect for me anyway. Tasty, juicy, and all around great. The price per value on this steak is high and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys thick steaks on the rare side.

And lastly our side dish of asparagus and mushrooms. We also had snap peas in a chili sauce which aren't shown here.

Overall, a very tasty and enjoyable meal, one which we hope to repeat sooner rather than later!

Here are the birthday gifts that Natasha got this year. Decorative aprons for the stove, Scrabble Deluxe, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, a Willow Tree, a candy dish, Road to Avonlea Season One, and some money (not shown).

Thanks everyone!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Charlotte's First Snow Storm

Charlotte went outside today to enjoy the first snow she has ever seen. I bought her a snowsuit and bundled her up and took her out to the backyard.

She really seemed to love it. She was looking all around and smiling and her cheeks and nose got all rosy. She had a little help from Nanny to sit up as the ground was sloping backwards. She got a little snow on her face once and wasn't too impressed with it... but recovered quickly.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Using IE? Time To Switch

Microsoft issued a critical security fix for Internet Explorer after a serious bug was found allowing dangerous access to a computer just by visiting infected websites.

For users who have Windows Updated automated, they should get the update right away. But why keep yourself exposed to future problems? Switch now, Get Firefox!

I am happy to report that Firefox is now used by 32% of my visitors. Internet Explorer still gets 57%, and the rest goes to a variety of other smaller browsers. The trend towards more solid and better performing browsers is good, and I look forward to seeing the numbers go up even further.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Mid-December Update

The end of 2008 approaches swiftly, with a mere 16 days left, and only 9 days until Christmas Eve. On Friday, we had our first snow of the year, which continued on Saturday evening. We went to my company Christmas party on Saturday as well, and then went to pick up Natasha's Mom from the airport.

The weather so far this fall/winter has been mild, and only in the last few days has it really turned cold. We only got a few inches of snow in most areas, just enough to create chaos on the roads for BC drivers who have no winter driving experience (or who forget from year to year how it works).

Yesterday was spent with a number of family and friends, going out for Greek food, drinking coffee, and eating pie and other snacks.

There is lots on the agenda for the next few weeks, and we will try to update the blog when you can. It's been a week since the last post, so irresponsible of us, I know.

All the best to you during the holiday season, and we hope you're all having a good time.

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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Charlotte's Newest Accomplishment

Just thought I would post a short blog about Charlotte's newest accomplishment.

She started talking! It is the cutest thing I've ever heard... being a new Mom every new thing she does is the cutest thing :-).

She is saying things like bababa and dadada and gagaga. It will be exciting when she actually knows that dada is someone special! And even more so when I hear that first mama...

But for now I'm pretty excited to hear these cute little sounds coming from my little munchkin.


Friday, December 05, 2008

How My Career Revisited Its Roots

I turned 29 this year, meaning I have been out of school and into my career for ten years now. I'm pretty happy with what I've accomplished so far, especially in the last two years. It is these last two years that have had some special meaning to me considering where I started.

Many people make decisions about their careers in high school, or in some cases, not until years later after much uncertainty and numerous changes in education paths. That's not necessarily a bad thing of course, and I think people should take as much time as they need to make sure they get it right.

In my case, however, events that happened much earlier in my life directed my path to where it is today. It was sometime around grade six, making me eleven or twelve years old, when I was introduced to computers for the first time; this one in particular:

My Apple IIc

This computer didn't always belong to me. My aunt and uncle bought it for my cousin when it was the latest and greatest machine, and I only inherited it years later when it was old technology but still a useful programming tool and a source of a lot of fun. I have kept this computer with me ever since, taking it out on rare occasions to re-live some of the memories and play a few old games. The machine itself is in perfect shape, complete with all peripherals, manuals, etc, and compares very well to the one in the Royal BC Museum. Only recently, and much to my disappointment, has it stopped working.

I remember when my Dad told me it was possible to enter instructions into a computer to tell it what to do. I was amazed and intrigued, and this was probably what sparked my interest in the whole thing to begin with. Later, my parents bought an Amiga 500 which I also did a lot of programming on and which I also still have.

My early software development continued right through to high school, winning me the "Computer Student of the Year" trophy in grade nine along the way. When I reached High School, I had already chosen my post-secondary school and program, and the type of career I would pursue. Many things have happened since then, some as I expected, others not at all expected, but my overall focus on computers and programming as a career has stayed constant.

Now, almost 20 years later, I find myself coming full circle, back to the source of my original interest. The company I work for deals almost exclusively with Apple computers, and I own a MacBook laptop and an iPhone, also made by Apple. It is very amusing to sit these pieces of equipment, old and new, beside each other, noting the identical logo but realizing that they are basically a generation apart.

To my parents, aunt, uncle, and cousin who gave me this fascinating start, thank you! Small beginnings have turned into a career which I greatly enjoy, a source of stability for my family and I, and will likely have far reaching effects for many years.

As for the Apple IIc, I will try to fix it someday if I can find the time for it. I will never get rid of it, definitely; a family relic, and an important part of my history.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Delay Tactics: Do They Work?

Delay tactics! From children to adults, businesses and politicians, they are widely used, and for good reason; they work. There are two great reasons to use delay tactics, listed here:

1) Annoyance. Human nature expects things to happen quickly. If you want to annoy someone, delay getting them something they've asked for. "Johnny, take out the garbage." "In a minute, Mom!"

2) Time. The basis of delaying... using up time before taking action. This has two effects. First, after a period of time, an important issue can become less so. What may have seemed like a big deal at one time can be replaced by something new. The second is that time fades both memory and interest. People forget about things, or get bored of them, especially if it becomes obvious that pursuing the issue further isn't going to be worth the time.

So, we have our basic definition and uses, and some basic examples. Let's look at a recent political application! We have a situation in Canada where the opposition parties are threatening to vote down the current government and install themselves in their place as a coalition. This is all legal according to the constitution of course, and without intervention, Monday would have arrived and the vote would have taken place.

However, this morning, Prime Minister went to see the Governor General to ask that the current session of the Parliament be suspended until sometime in January. This request has been approved, which makes the scheduled confidence vote on Monday impossible. A prime example of delay tactics.

The question is, will it work? Let's take it back to my two points earlier. Surely this will annoy the opposition party leaders to no end. To come within days of grasping power only to be delayed by a month is surely frustrating. Then we come to time, the more important factor. What will happen over the next few weeks? Will the importance of this power struggle diminish? Possibly. Politics change from day to day, so who knows. More interesting though, it could give the opposition parties enough time to start fighting amongst themselves leading to a collapse of the coalition effort. Or they could be pressured by their voters to back down.

Come January, the inevitable may still take place. Or we might be surprised by some new tactic. However, it will have provided much entertainment on the part of many eager news watchers, as well as an example of delay tactics on a large scale.

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Season's Greetings, 2008!

December has arrived, and with it many exciting events, as well as much to report from the last month. November was a busy month, as our frequent readers will have noticed (19 posts!), and we have some albums to share as well.

First, we wish you all a very merry holiday season, and here are a few festive family photos for you to enjoy!

No family photos are complete without a "fun" shot

The classic baby double-cheek kiss

We have also uploaded two new photo albums. The first is our November slideshow, and the second is our holiday decoration slideshow:

November 2008 Slideshow

Winter Decoration Slideshow

December is looking to be busy as well, with my company Christmas party, Natasha's Mom coming to visit us, Natasha's birthday, Christmas, and New Years!

Have a great December, everyone!

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